The Stigma of Mental Illness | Sam Cohen | TEDxYouth@SRDS (Transcript) ~ Instant Motivation Hub (IMH)

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The Stigma of Mental Illness | Sam Cohen | TEDxYouth@SRDS (Transcript)

Sam Cohen

You would never say to someone with a broken bone to just ignore their pain, that'll just pass one day. You would never say about someone who has cancer, that they're just faking it. It's just all for attention. You would never say to someone in a wheelchair just stand up, it's all in your head. You would obviously never say that and any of these kinds of people because they didn't ask for it in their life. It's not like they chose to put in their life. Should be the same for any other sickness or disability. No one asks to put this into their life so, they can't just snap out of it. Unfortunately, many people with mental illness have been told at least once in their life just snap out of it.

Trust me, If I could snap out of my anxiety and my depression, I would have done it long before anybody had to tell me. My illness isn't physically visible to you. You can't look at me and tell that I've been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I mean you can't really tell anyone who's mentally sick and that's why it's kind of doubted in our society because you just can't see it. The only people who can feel it are the people who have it. They can feel the battle inside them. I try not to blame myself for my anxiety and depression, I mean as I said before I didn't put it in my life, I didn't ask for it . It's just a result of the neurons in my brain working kind of abnormally. Many people have it because of a childhood trauma or just it runs through genetics.

It runs to my family. A family member of mine has also been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. She also had postpartum depression after having her children. She was fine for a little bit, but almost 10 years after having her last child, she admitted herself into a mental hospital for suicidal thoughts. She made to be on correct decision to go get help. I hope when I say mental hospital you don't picture this, because in movies and stuff it looks more like a jail, like a torture chamber where patients look more like prisoners even when I was looking up pictures for my slides I could barely find a picture of what a mental hospital actually looks like. And it doesn't look much different than any other Hospital. It’s light and bright and a lot of patients really do you get better. My family member she would send her it's coloring pages, she would call us and tell us how much better she was doing now that she had full-on access to a therapist.

It's been almost a year and a half since she's been released from the hospital and she's doing better. She owns her own business for a while, she is doing great and a new job. And she's a family that loves and cares for her. She is one of the greatest people I know. She's strong and I look up to her every single day. My relative was lucky to get the treatment that she got in our society. Our society is very judgmental when it comes to mentally sick. Society tends to ostracize those who say that they're sick by calling them just crazy or overreacting so, that makes people who are sick tend to want to hide themselves. I've always stayed quiet and so was everyone else's in my family, but I don't want to be quiet about my illness anymore. I shouldn't be afraid to tell Who I am.

So, as I said before I've got anxiety and Depression. I was diagnosed with anxiety when I was in third grade. I would kind of just cry like all the time for no reason or at least no reason that seemed rational. So, I spend a lot of hours in the guidance counselor and then I finally went to therapy and it's been great. I love therapy I mean who doesn't want to sit in a room for an hour to someone who has to listen to you talk. It's helped me so much, I mean therapy hasn't really gotten rid of my depression in exactly, but more taught me how to beat it, how to cope with it. For example in my late middle school years and my early years as a freshman in high school, I have a lot of depression, I was kind of just not really sad ,but more felt nothing, felt worthless and I kept going to therapy, therapy and my therapist taught me “you can deal with it. Your mental illness is just an old-fashioned supervillain and your superhero you can beat it to the ground”. So, that's how therapy have helped me.

Unfortunately society hasn't just stigmatized therapy ,but it's also stigmatized mental illness. It’s so common to hear people say wow I'm so OCD because that thing just like isn't wined up properly or wow like that's so retarded. People shouldn't be saying these. If you've never had anxiety, you don't know what it feels like the house, the entire world crashing around you for basically nothing. If you've never had depression you don't know what it feels like to feel worthless so, don't make a joke about it. In a world one in five adults have a mental illness, don't say how depressed you are because your favorite TV show ends it. And don't say you're going to kill yourself and make tapes because your Starbucks barista didn't get your order correctly. it's not appropriate to TVs anymore.

Ted is all about ideas we're share… sharing and the idea I want to share with you all today is, be nicer to people. I mean it seems like such a basic message but you never know what's going out on in someone else's head, so just be nicer and make sure if you know someone with a mental illness that they know you're not judging them because of their mental illness. When I wrote this talk, I thought how much should I share about myself. Should I just say I've got anxiety, should I just say I've got depression, it's all been really personal in my entire life, but then I realized that's why I wrote it. I shouldn't have to hide Who I am anymore. It's hard enough working with this mental illness itself so, I should be comfortable in my own skin and so should anyone else.

Thank you

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